• Ron Jenson

Step 5 – Share Your Feelings Appropriately

How are you at sharing your feelings? Frankly, I’m not that good at it. Honestly I’ve got a very narrow emotional bandwidth, and by that I mean I’m a pretty steady guy. So when things are great, I don’t feel a whole lot different than when things aren’t so great.

Learning to Understand and Share Feelings are Important

What I’ve learned over time is that learning to understand and share feelings are really important, particularly in conflict resolution, because so much of it is about feelings. Don’t yell, don’t scream, and you don’t need to put a bullhorn up to someone’s ear. Instead, learn to share your feelings appropriately.

Identify What You’re Feeling

My wife often asks me how I feel and here’s my response — “Fine?” I actually make it a question because I’m never quite sure. She might say, “That’s a great way to define sandpaper. But it’s not a great way to define emotions. There’s a lot more to life than that.” What I’ve learned over time is that I need to be able to identify what I’m feeling. By the way, I think men struggle with sharing feelings even more than women. Women tend to have more of an emotional competency and ability, a portfolio to understand themselves.  

When we are able to identify what we’re feeling, we are then able to articulate it to the people around us when we’re dealing with a conflict. So when Mary asks how I’m doing, as I dig deeper, go deeper, I can actually start to communicate my feelings.

Determine the Feeling Behind It

In conflict resolution, it’s important to understand and determine the feelings behind the conflict.

I met with a couple of my professors when I was a president of a graduate school some years ago. They were having a conflict, and were angry at one another, and getting bitter toward one another. I sat them down and I asked, “What’s the issue?” One talked about the office, the other person talked about some activity at work, or their job differences. I said, “Go deeper than that,” and so we talked further.

Finally what came out is that they both concluded they were not feeling respect from the other person, that they weren’t feeling appreciated. Once they were able to identify those feelings of disrespect, and as they recognized the feelings their behavior and words were causing, that new understanding led to a speedy conflict resolution. So learn to become a pro on your feelings.

Learn to Become a Pro

  • Understand them.

  • Communicate them.

  • Create a broader portfolio of how you feel.

  • Communicate with honor.

  • Speak the truth with respect.

Don’t use your feelings to explode at people but to communicate with people authentically what you’re feeling. Watch that does to help you resolve conflict!

So, number 5 is learning to share your feelings appropriately. Begin that process.

And, please share your comments, questions and insights below. Finally, if this is helpful for you, please pass it on to your friends and family via email or social media.

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